Monday, October 19, 2009

Let's Get Naked

Mark 14:51 a young man wearing nothing but a linen garment was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked leaving his garment behind.
This is one of those verses that you read and think, when did they put that in the Bible? I don’t remember reading this before and why is it in Mark but not Matthew, Luke or John. It doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the story. Why did God put that verse in the Bible? I thought about it for a few days and this is what I came up with. I’m not saying its right but hear me out.
The only way to leave after an encounter with Jesus is naked. What do I mean? Glad you asked.
When I was on the founding board of Life’s Choices a Crisis Pregnancy Center with four other amazing women we met weekly and prayed together for a whole year before the doors opened. One night while we were praying the Lord told me we had to get naked before Him. We had to be totally open and honest with one another so there would be unity. We could have no hidden agenda or “personal opinion.” The only way God was going to lead us was if we were in agreement as one. Getting five independent strong willed women to be in agreement was not always easy, but if we weren’t we did not move ahead, we waited.
I recently watched a video on a friend’s Face Book page and the gist of it was the man was going to let God chisel away the things in his life that didn’t glorify God but first he had to admit what those things were. He had to get naked.
In order for us to allow God to heal us or grow us for that matter we have to reveal everything in our heart to Him and sometimes to others. I think that’s one of Satan’s greatest tools, telling people they can’t possibly go to God because “their” sin is unforgivable.
Adam and Eve got to experience this first hand. Genesis 2:25 The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.
They started out great, they were naked in front of each other, no lies no deceit no hidden agendas they were completely honest to each other and to God. But they ate the forbidden fruit, they were disobedient to God and watch what happens.
Genesis 3:8-13 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

What were the effects of their sin? First off they feel naked.
Genesis 3:7b they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
They knew they messed up and they were having a feeling they never experienced before, guilt. What a powerful emotion, so strong it made them hide from God. God the one they walked with in the garden every day. They KNEW Him personally and knew of His provision first hand. They got to experience God’s love daily. Can you even imagine what that must have been like?
The door was opened for Satan and he didn’t waste any time. The next thing that happens is the blame game. Adam blames God for “this woman you gave me” and Eve blames satan.
If we don’t take ownership of our faults we can’t fix them and one of satan’s most powerful tools is guilt.
They could no longer stand naked before God so they hid behind satan.
Not much has changed, we still don’t want to get naked before God and we still play the blame game. The problem is if we’re not giving our sin to Jesus to help us we’re letting satan use it to harm us.
We all think ours is the worst scenario but God has no sin gauge, if it’s keeping you hiding and wearing fig leaves to cover it up then it’s got to go. I know in my life my fig leaf is humor. If you’re getting too close to something I’m not allowing God to work on I will start making jokes to draw attention away from the subject. Some people get mean; some people exercise or make themselves vomit. Some people become workaholics or they cut themselves or do drugs. These are all things Satan uses to keep us hidden. As if our fig leaf was really hiding our sin from God.
I found this verse so odd at first and obviously I’m using the Gena translation but here’s this guy wearing a linen garment, he’s following Jesus, the enemy shows up and tries to seize him and he takes off running NAKED. Chances are he ran into someone, he may have been the first recorded streaker.
My point is he was a follower of Jesus and rather than get caught by the enemy he was willing to run away naked and he didn’t care who saw him.
I have to give you a warning now. Sometimes if satan suspects you’re getting ready to repent before God and he’s going lose his guilt hold he may use well meaning Christians to help you feel guilty. Remember the woman in the bible who was caught in adultery? Those holy people dragged her to Jesus because they knew according to the law she should be stoned. Can’t you just see them standing around her in a circle with their self righteous attitude glaring at her and saying “that’s right HO we caught you and now Jesus is going to take you out” The story tells us that Jesus bent down, they must have thought he was bending down to pick up a good size rock. But as always Jesus did something unexpected. He started writing in the sand with his finger. I wonder what he was writing. Maybe He started listing all the “Holy people’s” sins.
The Bible just says, then he stood up and said whoever is without sin throw the first stone. One by one they walked away. Maybe there are some Holy people in your life that need to start walking away.
Jesus sees all of us good and bad but you can’t experience God’s forgiveness if you don’t get naked before your God and King and let him clothe you in His righteousness. Don’t let the enemy convince you that your sin is unforgivable. There are 10 commandments and I have broken them all. I don’t say that with pride I say it with a grateful heart. If the enemy is coming after you, take off running to Jesus and don’t be surprised if when you get there He says “let’s get naked.”

If you are carrying around a sin take this time to confess it before God and ask His forgiveness.
Romans 8:6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

Gena’s Jewels

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Winner Takes All

Gems, there is so much I want to share with you and my mind is racing so I pray you will be able to follow me. I would like you to take a journey back in time with me so some of these events you will remember from past jewels. It began about a year ago when the Lord told me to honor my father and mother. As you know from that jewel that was tough for me but if there’s one thing I know about God, obedience is key. His word says obedience is the sacrifice and I want to take every opportunity I can to make a sacrifice for God. Over the next year and a half the Lord took me out of the work place, through obedience I learned how faithful God is to provide for His children. Again obedience was key to this situation as well. I need to remind you jewels, just because I said I did it does not mean it was easy.
OK fast forward to about 6 months ago when the Lord told me to move to Tampa. As you know at first I did not understand this request and I’ll remind you some of the reasons why. I would have to leave my 17 year old son behind his senior year in high school. He is with his father but I don’t get to see him very often which leaves a void in my heart not to mention at times mommy guilt. I would be moving 2 hours away from my daughter, son, daughter-in-law and grandsons. We use to live 2 houses apart so this was a HUGE adjustment. I would have to be away from my youngest daughter for longer periods of time and deal with an ex-husband that doesn’t handle compromise very well. I was also moving in with a couple I hardly knew to a town where I had no friends. Now that you are up to date I need to remind you it was all about obedience.
I have already seen many reasons why I’m here and met some of the people the Lord has asked me to minister to but tonight a huge part of the Lord’s plan was revealed to me.
My father has been in and out of the hospital the past few months and most of the burden/responsibility has been on me. My parent’s home is about an hour and a half away from mine but my father was recently transferred to the VA Hospital. Where is that you ask…. Tampa. To be honest at first I felt it was yet another thing on my plate that I would have to deal with because he was now about a 20 min. ride from where I live. I went to the hospital the first few times to the usual scene of my father’s hateful yelling and all the drama with my mother. Trips back and forth to Davenport trying to get power of attorney papers and banking needs in order are just a few of the things I have been dealing with. Of course my father has still not agreed to sign these papers making my life that much more difficult. I’m going to get really honest here with you gems, as far as I was concerned my father was a huge pain in the ass and I was really done with him. The ONLY reason I was going to continue was because of Jesus’ words to me to honor my father and mother.
A couple of days ago my friend Cathy told me she felt in her Spirit like she should ask me if my dad had a relationship with the Lord and about my relationship with him. I told her I had come to terms with my non relationship with my father years ago. I also remembered a long time ago my mother telling me a Pastor came by their house and my father prayed to receive Christ. No sooner had I said those words I heard the Lord say “And you shall know my children by their fruit.” I had NEVER seen any fruit in my father’s life but pushed the thought out of my mind.
I knew I should go to the hospital after work today because there is a chance my father will be transferred back to a hospital in Haines City for rehab and there was no excuse for me not to. I had a long day at work and was already tired so I planned on doing my obligation and heading home quick. Of course the Lord had other plans. I walked in the room and there was a noticeable difference in the atmosphere. My father was lying there asleep and he looked so helpless. We were there alone for the first time without my mother or any other visitors. For the first time in months I was seeing my father, the man and not the responsibility. I don’t know if that makes sense. I suddenly realized how frail he was, he was so thin and small. Who was this man? A flood of emotion came over me as I walked over and touched his hair. I ran my hand over his head like a mother does with a sick child. I had never touched my dad like that before. My heart is pounding just seeing it again in my mind. He woke up slowly then asked if my mother was with me, when I said no he seemed surprised that I was there. As I stood there I realized I was the one the Lord chose to care for my father. Me of all the children, the one he seemed to dislike the most. It was awkward at first and then he said he was hungry. I pointed to the food tray that must have come in while he was sleeping. I walked over and cut up his food and he asked me to make his tea for him. My dad is a huge tea drinker one of the things he has passed onto me. I knew exactly how he wanted it after years of watching him make it. I got a chair and sat down near the bed but before long I was sitting on the bed next to him. The Lord was moving and I was just in the flow of it having no idea where we were going. All of a sudden in a loud voice, because my father is close to deaf, I heard these words came out of my mouth, “dad, have you given your life to Jesus?”
I was just as surprised as he was and I immediately felt weird wondering how many people heard me yelling about Jesus. It all happened so fast and I certainly wasn’t ready for what happened next. I saw a tear slowly slide down my father‘s cheek and the eyes that once looked at me with such contempt were now filled with pain and fear. It was like the whole world and all its craziness stopped for a moment. He said it was too hard to talk about and I told him it was too important not to talk about. At that point I didn’t care who heard me. I would scream from the rooftop if I had to. I asked him if he wanted me to pray with him and he said no, he would have to meditate on it for a while. He told me he was worried about “us kids” as he put it. My dad was worried about us? The conversation went on from there. It was one of the most precious times in my life, a time I never thought would happen. I waited a while then asked him again and this time he said yes. I sat on that hospital bed and led my father to the Lord.
I looked over at the night table and there was a deck of cards there, I asked my dad if he wanted to play. We sat there for over an hour playing cards. Me and my dad playing cards!! We played till he was tired then he laid his head down on his pillow. I asked him if he wanted me to leave and he yelled “I don’t care” I smiled and said “yes you do” and for the first time I knew he did care. I shut off the light as my father curled up to a fetal position. I sat with him for a while then kissed him on the head and left.
As I was driving home thanking God for what He did He gave me the name for the jewel. You see God dealt the cards, He asked me to play the hand He gave me knowing down the road I would be in Tampa right where He needed me when my father arrived ready to give his life to Jesus. He allowed me to be the one to do it and I cannot put into words the emotions I’m having tonight.
So my gems whatever you have been through or are going thru whether it makes sense or not be obedient to what God asks you to do because in this game the winner takes all.

Gena’s jewels

Friday, October 9, 2009

For Crying Out Loud

I have a some friends that cry almost every time you talk to them. They tell me it’s so frustrating they even asked the Lord to help them not to do it. A friend told me the other day she doesn’t like to speak in front of people about personal things because she’s afraid she will cry and it makes her feel stupid. A woman I met recently confessed that she comes from a family of criers and none of them can get through a story without tears flowing.
I was never much of a crier but the older I get the more I seem to do it. Some of these women get embarrassed by crying and feel stupid getting upset in front of other people.
I don’t think crying is stupid, other things maybe, but not crying.
To prove my point I decided to share a story with you about something I did the other day that was the ultimate in stupid.
I went to the Metro PCS store to change my cell phone from Sprint to their company. I was talking to the salesman and going over the paperwork of what I would need to do. As we were filling out the papers he asked me for my Sprint account number. I told him I didn’t have it and he said I would need to get it in order to continue. I was bummed out because I didn‘t know it and really didn‘t want to have to come back. I said I would go home and get it and come back the following day. He looked at me kind of weird which is not unusual; people often look at me that way. I thanked him for his help and told him I would see him tomorrow and left. OK are you ready for this? I drove home, walked in the house, took out my CELL PHONE from my purse and called Sprint for my account number. As the phone was ringing I realized I could have done that AT THE STORE!!! What a ninny head. The guy probably thought I stole the phone or was up to something and that’s why I didn’t call from the store. I was so embarrassed. Luckily when I went back the next day he didn’t recognize me and of course I acted like I had never been there before.
I confessed this because that was stupid; crying in front of people is not. I read this to my daughter and she said” that’s not the stupidest thing you’ve done.” That’s encouraging. As always the Holy Spirit spoke to me about the crying situation.
Have you ever heard people say you should go in the ocean if you have a cut or infection on your body, how the salt water will do you good? Or when you have a sore throat doctors tell you to gargle with salt water.
According to my Google search, in some cases gargling with salt water has a cleansing action. The Lord told me the same rule applies with crying, tears are your own salt water. There is a cleansing that happens when you cry; it gets stuff out of you. He told me that not only does it help the person that’s crying but those tears help heal the people near by that have the same kind of “wounds.” They feel better just knowing someone else understands how they feel and they truly cry with you because they understand what you’re feeling. Tears tear down walls. People stop and listen when they see your vulnerable. It takes a brave person to allow their emotions to flow in front of people.
God says He catches every one of our tears; they are all recorded in His book. He obviously doesn’t think crying is stupid or He wouldn‘t have created it. He tells us in 2Kings 20:5 I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.
So my gems I want to encourage you, if you’re a crier, don’t hold back. Let your tears flow and allow the cleansing to take place. Be the brave one to show emotion so others around you feel safe to do the same. Allow the Lord to heal you with the solution He himself designed, tears. And remember the best news is Revelation 21:3 I heard a loud shout from the throne saying,” Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”Who better to wipe away your tears then God Almighty, so go on, keep crying out loud!!!

Gena’s Jewels